Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 61,000 words
 
 
Blurb
 
Confronting the past is never easy.


Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.


He never expected her father.


Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.


This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.
 

Excerpt


Time had done nothing to dull Cole’s memories of Zander Brooks, though he wished it had. His stomach rolled, and he had to lock his knees to keep upright. Breathe, Cole, you’re being dramatic. Of all the places for them to see each other after nearly two decades…. It was some consolation, a very small amount, that Zander appeared equally as shocked to see Cole. He stood in the doorway, unmoving and silent, his lips parted. Cole could feel Zander,s gaze on him like a physical touch. It made his skin prickle, his heart skip a beat. He was supposed to be over this.


Cole needed to find his words. He was a professional, and whatever personal history they’d had, it was just that. History. It was irrelevant in this room. He played pretend with his class sometimes. He could do that now. He cleared his throat, feeling a bit like a cat with a hairball. “Hello, Mr… Emerson?” It was less confident than he’d been going for, but it would have to do. Zander took a minute to noticeably reorient himself. He walked into the classroom slowly. His pace could even be considered hesitant. Cole tried to ignore the observation, the nagging surge of satisfaction that he wasn’t alone in being off kilter.


From behind him, Savanah snorted. Cole glommed onto the excuse to look away from Zander and turned to her. Savanah’s pert nose was scrunched. “Can I play outside?” she asked, gaze darting between Cole and her father.


Jesus. Zander was a father. Zander was the father who Cole had been wanting to meet. If Cole didn’t regulate his breathing, he was going to have a full blown panic attack. He’d been in love with one of his student’s fathers. He’d had his heart broken for the first time by him. Seventeen years later and it somehow still stung. “No, but you can use one of the stations,” he said, hoping he didn’t sound too strangled. He ran a hand over the back of his neck, damp from sweat. He thought it was possible he’d had a nightmare like this before.


Savanah pouted but went in silence to the reading corner. She made sure to scuff her shoes over the carpet on the way.


“It’s Mr. Brooks,” said Zander, sounding much closer. His voice was the same, deep and smooth like velvet. It sent parts of Cole’s insides fluttering in a way he hadn’t experienced in years.


Cole retreated under the guise of picking the workbook and pencil off the floor. Savanah had Goldfish crumbs littered around the legs of her desk. “Ah, I see. My apologies.” He aligned the book and pencil symmetrically on the scarred desktop. A few of the workbook’s pages were crinkled now, folding in on themselves. He tried to smooth them down and noticed in the process that Savanah had been working ahead. He made a mental note of it.


He was going to have to stop delaying and face Zander eventually. Could he play this off like he hadn’t recognized Zander or was that cat long out of the bag? “Why don’t you take a seat? I’ll be right with you.” He cupped his hand at the edge of Savanah’s desk and used his other to sweep eraser crumbs into his palm.


“Uh.” Zander coughed, shuffling his feet and rustling his jeans in the process. “Here?”


Cole managed to look at Zander at last. His lips even twitched into a half-smirk of their own accord at the picture of Zander squeezed into a child-sized seat. The smirk didn’t last long. Zander was too close. Cole could make out the nearly golden striations in his irises, could see the slow progression of his pupil taking over the brown. He had a scar at his temple now, a jagged slash from hairline to the arch of his eyebrow. Stress lines looked to be permanently etched in the dark brown skin at the corners of his eyes and mouth. If Cole didn’t know better, he’d have said he was staring at someone in their forties. The years they’d been apart had not been overly kind to Zander.


Strangely the realization left Cole with a hollow feeling, a tinge of… disappointment, maybe. He’d been angry with Zander with every fiber of his teenage being, but buried underneath had always been a quiet hope that Zander would figure out how to be happy.


Clearly he’d not.

 

Author Bio


Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and recently completed a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.


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Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Vodka & Handcuffs: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #2
Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Pages: 112 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force.

Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

three-stars

Yeah, Bunk that’s exactly how I feel.

I took a few days off from writing my initial thoughts and feelings for this book. The blurb and the Vahin had me really excited to read his book. I liked him a lot in book one. My rating is very generous because I like the author, and know how great his stories can be. This was a total letdown for me. I feel cheated because they couldn’t even build up to a relationship without all the outside interrupting them. Some might classify this as a HFN, but I can not. They spend literally a blink of eye together, and it was nothing that I read that seemed like they connected. It was not good. There, I said it.

I enjoyed Vahin as a character in book one, but in this book he kinda seems lost. I guess that has to do with his past playing heavy on his mind. I don’t know if it took away from his character, but it definitely posed a bigger mystery to him? I thought it would be some resolution for him at the end since his past was presence so much, but it was none. I don’t know how to write this when I feel like pieces of the story were so disjointed.

Marlon, Marlon Marlon. Why?? Two people of color as main characters and their story was not good. I don’t really get Marlon. I guess he never seemed into Vahin. I felt like Witt forced them together, I didn’t feel the steam, love, lust or any connection between the two. Marlon had to deal with his horrible partner as a Denver Police Officer. One could ask why he is still a beat cop at 38, but that just randomly flew out of my head. Kudos to Witt writing some realism in this story. He always is able to deliver some realistic fiction in his stories. The subject is very much true and happening so prevalent in this day and age.

It had a few funny laughs, but nothing to wow me about the book. I really wish it was light hearted, smutty with this side of drama like book one, but I digress. I’ll still read Witt’s forthcoming book. This just didn’t work for me.

 

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About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Loose Cannon: by Sidney Bell
Series: The Woodbury Boys #1
Release Date: April 3rd, 2017
Pages: 327 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Don’t miss this brand-new male/male romance series from Sidney Bell, author of Bad Judgment

Released after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he’s leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.

With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it’s getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.

Church’s criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.

five-stars

This book surely deserved that slow clap. So I originally read this book in Janurary as an ARC, and was blown away by it. It was the first book of the year to get 5 stars and land on my Best Books of 2017 list! I was completely enthralled with the story and it stuck with me. Well what did I do? I completely forgot to write my review. Knowing that I was going to have to skim or re-read it had me worried. I was worried if I didn’t like it the second time around just as much. If I could find little things to nit pick that would cause me to lower my rating or change my opinion overall. I am shocked that the second time around, I’m just as in love with it as the first one. Didn’t cry, but it was the same raw emotions and feelings the first time around. Bell has some true talent, I’m 2 for 2 on her books and she continues to be a force to reckon with so far.

This angsty, age-gap, out for you romance with a great plot and superb characters was Ah-Maz-Ing like Penny stated above. I was blown away by the story, the journey, friendship, love and obligation that Miller & Church had towards each other. Edgar Allen Church is such a complex character with an wonderful heart. He is fresh out of Woodbury Rehabilitation Center for Youth Offenders. When his living arrangements fall through, it leaves him no choice but to call the one person who he hasn’t spoken to in 5 years. Miller. Miller who is everything to Church. Not knowing the feeling is reciprocated. Church comes from an abusive childhood where fists are used instead of words, where no physical acts of love is shown, and he only has himself. Miller breaks my heart, he’s living day to day but not really living. He has this storm raging inside of him, and instead of letting himself be he hides himself and its literally eating him apart.

I really like how the story is told in 3 different parts. We get to see what lead Church to his incarceration, what happened between him and Miller, and the fall out from those years spent apart. This was angsty in my opinion, but I’m glad that it had multiple components to keep me on my toes without worrying about their relationship. As much as I loved Church, my feelings were all over the place with Miller. He’s been in love with Church for so long but all his thoughts and feelings are constricted based on the guilt he feels about another man. Wrapped up in his own head, and hearing his father saying its a sin has Miller waffling on his sexuality. Bell did a good job on Church being the calm one when the sexuality conversation comes into play. It gets steamy and the love is already there. You can see what they mean to each other and I’m just blown away by the feels that was in this book.

The mystery aspect was well done. I cannot wait for Tobias to get a story. I don’t care if its with Ghost or not, I just need pure, sweet Tobias to get love. Ha, I know he isn’t pure, but I loved him. Ghost is so broken, but so wonderful at the same time I expect so many tears to come when his book comes out.

This was such a great start to the series. I mean, Bell did a good job with Bad Judgement, but Loose Cannon is in a class all by it self. Very well written, extremely flawed characters, such a realistic feeling to an emotional journey. I think fans in this genre would love this, and can definitely see this on the Best Books of 2017 list. A definite recommend from me.

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About Sidney Bell

Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. Eventually more realistic grown-ups convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, which is how we ended up here.

When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

Strays by Garrett Leigh

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Strays: by Garrett Leigh
Series: Urban Soul #2
Release Date: March 27th, 2017
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

four-half-stars

 

 

Oh my goodness, this book was amazing!!!! I loved every single minute of it. Leigh packs a healthy punch of angst in her for those lovers, but it was non-angsty enough for me to enjoy it. I mean let’s be honest here who does flawed characters like Garrett Leigh? NOBODY! She is Reigning Queen and this book solidifies it. I thought I could pick it up to start reading to take my mind off things, but I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. (NTS: go back and re-read Misfits)

Lenny & Nero were so good together. I can’t stop gushing about it. What is it about grumpy ass men? I’m so attached to them. At first grump glance, Nero was mine. He just wants to be in the shadows and maintain a kitchen, but he can’t. LOL. Well he can, but he realizes really late in life how amazing he is. He is the team of a-holes, but with his past its no wonder why. Realizing his sexuality and never acting on it is driving him part mad when in flounces Lenny. Pretty Lenny, who I adored and who adapted to this new situation. I really loved Lenny. He was going through a traumatic experience but was able to mold into something new for himself. The attraction to one another is pretty obvious. Its definitely a waiting game to see who is going to fold first. I didn’t care at this point. Feelings were being made, angst was being dropped, but when moves were made and action was had in this story. It was great seeing Cass, Tom & Jake from Misfits. Loved how they all fitted so well within this book.

Both guys have some sort of trauma that they are dealing with. Lenny’s is most recent, and Nero is in the past. How can he help Lenny, and still deal with his monsters in the dark? I like that Lenny kinda reinforced to Nero that the communicating is a 2 way street. If you want to know all of my flaws, and scares then give up yours. It was a lovely for me to have the emotions that I did have, but I think once again its why I like Leigh’s books. They are definitely realistic and very much you can know these characters off hand in one way or another.

Strays is a definite recommend for me. You can read it as a standalone, but why do that? If you are looking for great writing, and an equally amazing story then pick this book up. You will not be disappointed!

 

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About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzdesign.com

MoMo: My Everything by Posy Roberts

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

MoMo: My Everything : by Posy Roberts
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Pages:96 • Format: eARC
Published By: Labyrinth Bound Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

William Harris is a reserved man, private and guarded. He has no one to go home to. He’s never found a man worth sticking around for. He’s never been in love. And he’s convinced he’s happy with his lone-wolf life.

Nate Kelly is William’s opposite, social and easy going. He comes into William’s life as the elegant geisha Momo. When William realizes Momo is a man in drag, he’s captivated.

From their first date, William’s world changes. Nate is nothing like his usual type. And William soon finds out being with this carefree man means always being on display and attracting attention, which makes him want to retreat. He tries to keep Nate at arm’s length, but it’s no use. Nate’s transformed his life in a matter of months and keeps drawing him back in.

If they stand a chance, William has to be comfortable standing next to someone so at home in the limelight. Their future together and William’s happiness depend on it. Is Nate the man finally worth giving up William’s solitary existence? Is he worth sticking around for?

three-stars

 

I never expected to use this gif with this author. Posy Roberts is one of my favorite authors. Her realistic words, characters and emotions get me every time I read one of her works. Its hard for me to write this review. I don’t think this should have been a novella. It should have been full length. With the amount of backstory and characteristics that she put into William, it wasn’t far to not get the same for Nate. So much information surrounding Will, and yeah it was told from his point of view, but it still took me a while to get into the story. It seemed so disjointed in the beginning, and I wanted to DNF it because I didn’t see the point of the story. It took me a while to get into the pacing of the story, and I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending.

I think this is one of her only insta-love stories. I’ve read everything she’s ever written, and the emotions between the two were fast, and I can see the connection from two people who opposites attract. I don’t know if I’m okay with some of the actions or verbiage used in the story. It seemed unnecessary for me. It didn’t add to the story. William’s ignorance made me side-eye him a little bit. The whole fantasy around “MoMo” didn’t move me. I don’t know if that was the right thing to say, but that’s how I felt. I’m so unclear on why this was a big thing for him, and why not admit it to your significant other. I mean you did meet Nate who was MOMO at the time. It just didn’t seem sincere to me. I really liked Nate, but we got so little of him. I really would loved to have more of his story, and his voice, but he felt overshadowed at times by William’s lack of knowledge or comfort ability in his sexuality. Nate easily made the story bearable for me. I liked where they ended up.

This was my first book by this author who I wasn’t sold on it. From the very beginning I was a little put off by it. I guess I didn’t care to much of the tone. I don’t think you should let my review deter you from reading her work. It’s really worth it. I love her characters alot, and I’m always able to connect with them. This just wasn’t meant for me.

About Posy Roberts

Real life. Genuine men. True love.

Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.

Posy is married to a man who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep. Her daughter, a budding author and dedicated Whovian, helps her come up with character names. When Posy’s not writing, she enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.

A Stone Kissed Sea by Elizabeth Hunter

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Stone Kissed Sea: by Elizabeth Hunter
Series: Elemental World #4
Release Date: December 6th, 2016
Pages: 328 • Format: eARC
Published By: Elizabeth Hunter
Purchase Links:
AmazonItunesKoboSmashwords

An immortal wanderer. A brilliant scientist. A centuries-old menace written in blood.

Lucien Thrax, son of the earth and child of the ancients, is a healer of immense power. But years of work on a deadly vampire virus have not led to a cure, nor have they softened the wall he built around his heart. When he’s forced to work with Doctor Makeda Abel, Lucien is convinced he’s reached his limit of patience with humanity.

Makeda Abel may be human, but she’s far from impressed with the brooding vampire healer, even if his mind draws her reluctant admiration. She’s learned how to survive in the immortal world, and it’s not by being afraid. Working together may lead them to answers, but it also pushes Lucien and Makeda’s attraction to the boiling point.

When nightmares become reality, Makeda will have to trust Lucien with her life. Finding answers has never been more vital. Finding love has never been more deadly. To heal the Elemental World, Lucien and Makeda must follow ancient paths and ask for help from the most inhuman of immortals. Because even with a cure in hand, the battle has only begun.
four-stars

 

It’s very few writers who work I would purchase off the strength of their name, and Elizabeth is one of them. Her pen game is ridiculous good. I love her works, and this book is no exception. When I read her words, I’m immediately drawn into the settings of the particular place, and enamored with her characters. I love that she writes people of color as leads and focal points in her work. I love that while reading her words, I’m googling the specifics of each story. I’m enraptured by the places, cultures and histories that she provides as a backstory for her readers. I love how authentic she is with her research, and the love that she pours into her craft. I haven’t finished an Elizabeth Hunter story and was left feeling disappointed. It’s something that hasn’t happened to me, and at the rate she is going I don’t think it ever will be.

I use to want more romance between her characters on page, but at this point after so many books I had to realize the physical side of the relationship might not be present, but the emotional and mental attraction is still there. That’s the love that I like reading about. Lucien & Makeda story isn’t hearts & rainbows. The attraction was their from the very beginning but being two cerebral people did not help them at all. Lucien being as old as he is, is attracted to the human. Something that he didn’t want, but he couldn’t deny her brains is what pushed him over the edge. Makeda is a type A personality. She knows what she wants, she’s blunt, doesn’t believe in small talk. Her family knows the existence of vampires, her dad is under a powerful vampire aegis means Makeda gets to work on her life’s work in a wonderful lab. When news comes to certain allies regarding Elixir Makeda name is out their for her brilliance in studying hematology. She moves to California working with Lucien who doesn’t make it easy for her at all.

I love how Elizabeth creates these strong women characters. Its such a breath of fresh air reading about women who we can look up to. Not only is Makeda smart, but she’s resilient in her human life as well as her new born vampire life. She doesn’t take much, and opens up to Lucien. He’s not without fault, he’s still dealing with the death of a lover from a few years ago. He is dealing with his age, and how at his age he’s tired, but finding Makeda awoke something in him. This book had a good cast of characters. Alot of information being thrown out there, and made me want to visit some of these places as well.

I won’t go far into detail, but I really enjoyed it. It made me go on a binge read of the next books in the series to catch up on. I hope I see some of these people in the future. I highly recommend this series!

 

 

About Elizabeth Hunter

ELIZABETH HUNTER is a contemporary fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She once substitute taught a kindergarten class, but decided that middle school was far less frightening. Thankfully, people now pay her to write books and eighth-graders everywhere rejoice.

She currently lives in Central California with her son, two dogs, many plants, and a sadly dwindling fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Cambio Springs series, the Irin Chronicles, and other works of fiction.

Permanent Ink by Jaime Samms

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Permanent Ink by by Jaime Samms
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 18th 2017 (2nd edition)
Pages: 71 pages
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazon US

Beauty is only skin deep, but some marks—and what they represent—are impossible to escape.

Eric resents his comfortable college life and the restrictions his family’s expectations put on him. Dwayne, his best friend Angel’s cousin, is a pierced and tattooed ex-con trying to rebuild his life. Eric sees only the tattoos and the way Dwayne’s upbringing have dictated his future. It takes a surprising revelation from Angel to force Eric to see past Dwayne’s defenses to the generous heart beneath and to realize it’s time for him to break free of his own instilled beliefs. The men can’t keep apart, and they gradually learn that everything they thought they knew about each other might be wrong.

Opposites attract as two men from very different backgrounds move from enemies to lovers in a story of understanding, compassion, and redemption.
ONE STAR REVIEW

This book pushed some buttons for me. The blurb made it sound like an intriguing interracial romance, but it ended up being a story with cliché characters overcoming their prejudice to find love.

It starts off with Eric, judgmental basketball player who assumes his best friend Angel’s tattooed roommate and cousin is a thug. Eric is a white college student from a middle-class family whereas Angel and his cousin Dwayne are from the projects and come with all the baggage that often come with hood life. They have criminal pasts and in Eric’s mind, Dwayne is a criminal not to be trusted. Dwayne was described as a cornrow and baggy pants wearing tattooed guy who seem to enjoy uninhibited sex encounters as Dwayne was constantly coming onto Eric. Eric assumed Dwayne was a man-ho and told his best friend Angel of his analysis of Dwayne’s character. Of course, the black predatory thug would want the stable college white boy, right?
Aside from this galling racial set up, the plot and story wasn’t smooth nor did it flow well. It was uneven and didn’t draw me in emotionally at all. I see the author was trying to set up an opposite attract, enemies to lover trope, but this story smacks of lazy plot set up and character development and research. It is a novella, so there isn’t a lot time to construct but I do not believe extra pages would save this one. I found it is unrealistic that Eric doesn’t know more about his best friends’ cousin and roommate considering Eric spends the night on Angel’s couch sometimes. Second, it was so contrived that once Eric was told of Dwayne’s sacrifice, Dwayne is all of a suddenly so attractive. I didn’t connect with their chemistry and I didn’t enjoy their sex scenes at all. It was short, but I disliked this story and I am unsure if I will read something else by this author.

Ezi

Hipster Brothel by K.A. Merikan

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hipster Brothel: by K.A. Merikan
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Pages: 162 • Format: eARC
Published By: Acerbi & Villani ltd
Purchase Links:
AmazonAmazon UK

— The lumberjack of his dreams is now available for rent. —

Mr. B has always been a safe guy for Jo to crush on. He’s the cutest bearded lumber-god to salivate over. Add to that his friendly, outgoing personality, and Mr. B might just be the first guy Jo would be willing to kiss. Fortunately, Mr. B has been in a relationship for years, and Jo is no home-wrecker.

But when Mr. B breaks up with his partner and all of a sudden is single, available, and talks about his plans to be sexually adventurous, Jo isn’t so sure anymore if he has the guts to come out as bisexual.

After a sour breakup, Mr. B wants to show his ex that he’s independent, exciting, and can do very well without him. His best friend Jo is there to the rescue, and they come up with a great new business venture. One thing they lack to start their own line of artisanal boozy jams – money for the investment.

After a drunken brainstorming session, Mr. B finds a way to both gather the cash and show the middle finger to his ex. He will create a one of a kind Hipster Brothel – The Lumbersexual Experience – offering wood chopping lessons, pipe smoking, and a reclaimed wood bed where the magic happens. It’s bound to be a success… if only Mr. B can go through with it, because the mixed signals from Jo are making him wonder if his best friend is as straight as he always seemed.

four-stars

Am I the only one who got an chessy evil villain vibe from the names in this story? I literally was waiting on one of them to give a speech on how good will always prevail evil! LOL. It is a Merikan book after all. Nonetheless, I really did enjoy this story. It was a steamy hot friends to lovers story with some hipsters. I adore the hipsters and beards!

**Groans**, here goes with the names.

Mr. B is recently broken up with his partner of a subsequent amount of years. He moves to his brother’s land and resides in a train car, and now think of ways to reinvents himself. He is told that’s he to clingy in a relationship and mostly bored. I refuse to call them by initial any longer in this review. Bernard is broken-hearted, and calls his best friend Jo. Not knowing that Jo has been crushing on him for the last 2 years. Unbeknownst to Bernard, Jo is accepting his bi-curious and really wanting Bernard. He doesn’t want to over step his boundaries because it is his friend, and he is not in the right frame of mind. Well a night of artisanal food, and homemade moonshine opens up to new possibilities between the two.

From there on out feelings get put on blast, and steamy sex scenes ensue. The exes show up in the picture, and I did enjoy seeing each ex. I think that part of the story was able to bring more realism to the story. Its a friends to lover story, which I also found myself laughing. Really entertaining. I did find myself wanting to slap Arnold a bunch of times. He was kinda rude, but I think him breaking up with Bernard was the best thing for both of them.

I enjoyed that it was dual pov, and really liked seeing Jo not only come to terms with his sexuality, but figure out his ish and what he was going to do about it now. I liked Jo’s mom, and wish we could have gotten that Sunday brunch meeting. I think it would have been lovely. Whatever you say about the Merikan ladies, you can’t say they don’t know how to write a steamy sex scene. They know how to produce some heat in your loins for sure. LOL. I really liked it, and definitely one of the lighter books they’ve ever written. Really recommend this book, and look forward to more.

About K.A. Merikan

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

Idlewild by Jude Sierra

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Idlewild: by Jude Sierra
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Pages: 250 • Format: eARC
Published By: Interlude Press
Purchase Links:
AmazonInterlude Press

Asher Schenck and his husband John opened their downtown gastropub at the start of Detroit’s revival. Now, five years after John’s sudden death, Asher is determined to pull off a revival of his own. In a last ditch attempt to bring Idlewild back to life, he fires everyone and hires a new staff. Among them is Tyler Heyward, a recent college graduate in need of funds to pay for medical school. Tyler is a cheery balm for Asher’s soul, and their relationship quickly shifts from business to friendship. When they fall for each other, it is not the differences of race or class that challenge their love, but the ghosts and expectations of their respective pasts. Will they remain stuck or move toward a life neither of them has allowed himself to dream about?

 

four-stars

“It happens. Love is a constant practice and it’s not always easy”.

A slow burner romance, about friendships, family, forgiveness, second chance love, vulnerability and being true to yourself.

Wow. Didn’t expect this at all.  I initially requested this book to read based off the cover. I hadn’t heard about Jude Sierra or anything, and I’m so happy that I read this book. My thoughts are all over the place seeing as I just finished reading it and wanted to get a review done immediately. The one thought that keeps repeating itself in my mind is vulnerability. I haven’t felt vulnerable from reading a book in a long time. Sierra writes so beautifully, and the best thing about this story was the complete utter focus on Asher & Tyler. It’s like standing in a whirlwind situation, but being laser focused on one specific thing. It’s how I would describe the authors complete devotion to these two.

I’m in awe on how much I love both guys. Tyler is super vulnerable in this story, but he shines so bright, and he’s so sweet that hurts when he hurts. Every description on him being able to change or adapt to someone’s else standard was like a knife in my stomach. From the very beginning, I was compelled by him. I really did like seeing all the different sides to Tyler. He is a sweet guy, and reading about him wanting things to work, or settling because he wanted to be loved just put my emotions in over drive. There were glimpse of the real Tyler. They came out when he passionate about something, and his city was something he was definitely passionate about. Another thing that I feel in love with was the author’s descriptions about Detroit. It’s like a 3rd home for me, seeing as I have family there and drive there quite often. I’ve never seen Detroit how they see it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a tourist. I see Detroit as something completely different, but reading it from their experience has left me wanting to visit this magical place. Jude has done a really great job of equating daily present events, thoughts, and feelings about this city into something magical. You don’t fall in love with just Asher & Tyler, but being in the city and witnessing from there experience makes you want to almost be there.

Asher, Asher, Asher. He’s grieving in the beginning of this story. He’s a widower at a young age, and the death of his husband is to much to handle. He’s lost focus on important things, and even letting himself go. It takes him a few years to realize that life is moving on around him, and their dream of Idlewild is slowly dying. He decides to take the bull by the horn so to speak and give life back into Idlewild. While doing that he makes himself believe that he hasn’t forgotten John, but he’s over it. This story was extremely character driven. I mean its a really good story where everything you can think of the author covers it. From every little response, reaction, feeling and the initial meeting of Tyler its there.

I didn’t like the tense it was written in at first, but after awhile I couldn’t make myself put it down. I didn’t expect so many emotions to come up while reading this. I have love for both guys, and I would have like to see more even at the end of them. I wanted to see the parents reactions and first meetings!! Argh, I feel a little cheated. Gah, Jude if you read this review, could you write a follow up novella please. I really want to see more of these two, and thank you for writing Asher & Tyler’s story. I think this story will stick with me for the rest of the year.

About Jude Sierra

Jude began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”.

As a sucker for happy endings and well written emotional arcs and characters, Jude is an unapologetic bookaholic. She finds bookstores and libraries unbearably sexy and, to her husband’s dismay, is attempting to create her own in their living room.

She is a writer of many things that hope to find their way out of the sanctuary of her hard drive, and many that have found a home in a fanfiction community.

She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric and managing a home filled with her husband, two young sons, and two cats. Her first novel, Hush, was published in 2015 by Interlude Press. What it Takes, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, is her second novel. Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus reviews and is now available.

Wanted, A Gentleman by K.J. Charles

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wanted, A Gentleman: by K.J. Charles
Release Date: January 9, 2017
Pages: 155 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
RiptideKobo

By the good offices of Riptide Publishing
KJ Charles’s new Entertainment

WANTED, A GENTLEMAN
Or, Virtue Over-Rated

the grand romance of

Mr. Martin St. Vincent . . . a Merchant with a Mission, also a Problem
Mr. Theodore Swann . . . a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for Love

Act the First:

the offices of the Matrimonial Advertiser, London
where Lonely Hearts may seek one another for the cost of a shilling

Act the Second: a Pursuit to Gretna Green (or thereabouts)  featuring  a speedy Carriage
sundry rustic Inns  a private Bed-chamber  In the course of which are presented Romance, Revenge, and Redemption Deceptions, Discoveries, and Desires  the particulars of which are too numerous to impart

four-stars

So I enjoyed this but didn’t love it. Yeah, me didn’t love it. I haven’t read many KJ Charles books where I didn’t love them, but this was missing something. I don’t know if they adventure took up much of the story whereas the romance side got kinda pushed to the way side, and the ending was rushed. I am feeling a little cheated by the ending. It does not seem very KJ Charles-ish to me. I could be wrong and be super picky because I adore her writing and characters.

I really enjoyed the fact that Martin was based on a real person. I love that she did the background information on the actual person and equated it into a possible love story-ish. Martin is a free man in 1805 London. There he is treated with a certain dignity and respect seeing as he is an educated free man with his own businesses to attend to. He has a relationship with the family that purchased him, and freed him. He has all these internal feelings about it. Should he be friendly? Is it morally right? What does he stand to lose if he cuts off the relationship? Whatever you can feel, Martin is currently feeling it. When the family in questions asks for his help in saving their daughter. He agrees to it, only for extreme loyalty to the daughter. After all he’s known her since she was born, and never had a bad thing to say about her. Enter one Mr. Theodore Swann. The owner of newspaper advertisement for lonely hearts.

Theo is lonely as well, but it pays the bills. He’s also an undercover author who uses a pseudonym to write. His job is to print ads to the lonely heart people. When Martin storm his office, its like lightning struck. Okay, that could have been my interpretation. LOL. Theo is immediately attracted to Martin, but personality they seem to clash. I did like the adventure to the story, and figuring out the whodunit or if it’s true. It seemed shorter then other books, or maybe it was fast paced. I would have liked the romance side of the story to be prolonged, and I’m not happy at all at the ending. It was rushed, and I think we were cheated. I would have loved Martin & Theo to talk and get to know each other so more onscreen. I wanted to see them in a different atmosphere without the actual plot hanging over their heads.

All in all, this was a pretty good story! I enjoyed Martin & Theodore’s tale of the lonely hearts meeting. I think KJ did a good job with the time period, terminology and setting. I always love her authenticity of her stories. I look forward to more from her, and I can recommend this title. Charles usually flavor and style is definitely here.!

About K.J. Charles

KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles or on Facebook, join her Facebook group, or email her at kjcharleswriter {at] gmail {dot} com. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.